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VC church aims to break ground for new facility

By David Luessen, The Jamestown Sun, N.D.
McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

Aug. 18--Faith Lutheran Church in Valley City is hoping to break ground on its new facility this fall nearly a year after a fire claimed its former home.

"Our architects are just finishing plans up for our new church," said Tory Hart, church council president. "We'll put it out to see what our cost estimates are, and hopefully, this fall, we'll begin."

The church is working with Moorhead, Minn.-based architects YHR Partners on the new church's design. The church will be rebuilt across the street to the east from the downtown lot where it once stood before it went up in flames in October. Since the fire, services have been held at the church's temporary home -- an empty office space in southwest Valley City, a building that also houses the Barnes County Sheriff's Office, the local Canadian Pacific Railway office and the Nielson Insurance Agency.

"We've transitioned into our temporary space as well I think we could have hoped," Hart said. "We're limited in rooms for all the things that happen, but we're making do."

According to court documents, arson suspect Andrew Michael Miklas, 25 or 26, Valley City, was set to stand trial on Aug. 19. Prosecutors have planned to try him under the state's Habitual Offender Statute, which allows for extended sentencing, but a change of plea will be entered on Aug. 25. Miklas faces a Class B felony charge of arson, two Class C felonies for burglary, a Class C felony charge for endangering by fire or explosion and a Class B misdemeanor theft of property charge.

Meanwhile, alleged co-conspirator Nicole Ellen Lindermann, 19 or 20, Kathryn, N.D., is scheduled for a change of plea on Aug. 25. Lindermann faces a Class B felony charge of criminal conspiracy, a Class C felony of conspiracy to commit burglary and a Class B misdemeanor charge of theft.

A Class B felony is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $10,000 fine, a Class C misdemeanor is punishable by five years in prison and a $5,000 fine, and a Class B misdemeanor is punishable by 30 days in jail and a $1,000 fine.

According to court documents, Lindermann and Miklas allegedly committed a burglary at the church during the evening of Oct. 20 or early morning of Oct. 21 and returned later to set fire to the building to destroy evidence.

The Rev. Jolene Knudson-Hanse, pastor at Faith Lutheran Church, was out of state and could not be reached for this story, but she told The Sun earlier this year that she and her congregation hold no ill will toward the suspects.

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"We're more focused on getting the building back and staying together and continuing with what Faith Lutheran Church has for ministries," she said.

Sun reporter David Luessen can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at dluessen@jamestownsun.com

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(c)2014 The Jamestown Sun (Jamestown, N.D.)

Visit The Jamestown Sun (Jamestown, N.D.) at www.jamestownsun.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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